Many people report feeling lonely during the holidays, and for a number of reasons. Family couldn't come together, family did come together, a loved one passed away earlier in the year, or a loved one is sick and it might be the last holiday with them. It can be a mixed bag of emotions. Here are some tips on how to manage holiday stress:
Healthy boundaries. I can't emphasize this enough. Have you ever been talked into hosting a gathering or taking on too much responsibility for an organization? Know your limits and maintain healthy boundaries in order to keep your stress manageable.
Make time for yourself. Even if you love everything about the holiday season, make sure to have some “me” time now and then. Even if it's volunteering to grab a few ingredients from the grocery store or going for a walk.
Maintain a sense of normalcy. This doesn't mean keep the same schedule every day. Continue one or two healthy activities on a regular basis.
A few pounds won't kill you. By all means, if you can stay away from all the baked goods and treats, more power to you. But if you're like most people who attend parties or are surrounded by goodies, it's okay to indulge. That's what the New Year resolution is for.
Manage your finances. Too many times I've worked with families who have a great holiday and then are in a dire situation financially post holiday. Sit down and figure out what you can afford by considering your financial needs for the weeks following the holiday.
Let go...for now. Families can be splintered because of past issues. If you want everyone to have a pleasant holiday, try to temporarily let go of past and even present issues. This doesn't mean you have to forgive and forget, but set aside differences for the sake of togetherness.
Extend Thanksgiving. No, I'm not talking about the food, although...I'm talking about being thankful and grateful. If you are able to spend time with friends and/or family, be thankful. It doesn't have to be an over-the-top moment of gratitude, even pausing for a few seconds can relieve stress and positively shift your thinking. This is actually something to practice year around.
This too shall pass. If you dislike holidays, the bad news is they come ever year. The good news is holidays pass with time. If it helps, use a calendar or countdown to keep in mind that the holiday will be over soon.
Go on vacation. This obviously isn't for everyone, but I've seen a growing trend of family vacations during the holidays. Families report enjoying not having to figure out the logistics of going to three different homes in a day, figuring out menus, fighting road and store traffic, etc.
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